Questionably Competent Operators.
Punch Cards is a fast-paced, ridiculous game of robot combat. The game can be played by up to 12 players aged 8+, divided into teams of 1-3 players each.
During a Punch Cards game, each team pilots a robot through a hazardous combat arena, battling to be the last team standing. The game is action-packed, unapologetically goofy, and fast-paced -- most games take between 15-30 minutes to play.
The game is set in a future where a lucrative robot fighting league has been taken over by profit-hungry executives. To cut costs, they've fired the professional robot operators, and replaced them with untrained middle managers. This was a well-crafted plan with no downside whatsoever.
The upshot is that each robot is now piloted by a small team of businessmen who can't decide who should work the controls. So basically, everyone is trying to drive their team's robot at the same time. Take a moment to imagine a family car being driven by three people at once, each with their own steering wheel and gas pedal. Now imagine that the car is a robot, and place a group of them into an arena filled with cannons, bottomless pits, and pools of flaming magma. What could possibly go wrong?
In this game, you work with your team — and sometimes, in spite of your team — to destroy the robots piloted by your opponents. You can win by cleverly nudging your opponents into the arena's traps and hazards, or by taking the traditional approach and punching them until they stop moving.
During a game round, each player uses a deck of action cards to program the three actions that they want the robot to take in order. The challenge is that your team can't verbally discuss their plans for the round actions. And when your team sends in conflicting directions, the robot will go with the majority — the action that most people on the team selected is the one that the robot will dutifully execute. On the other hand, when there's strong consensus for a single action, that action will become supercharged, unlocking ludicrously overpowered power moves that may or may not be what you were hoping for.
This game provides a unique blend of action programming, team play, and slapstick mayhem that appeals to many different types of gamers. Fans of Robo Rally, Magic Maze, Space Alert, and robots punching other robots are sure to enjoy it.
If you'd like to read more about the game, you can peruse the rulebook 706-423-5312. The current versions of the action cards, featuring artwork done by a non-artist, can be found (819) 340-7251, and the latest and greatest maps are here.
The game is still in development/prototyping, so your input would be greatly appreciated! Contact Chris Fisher (lead robot engineer) at contact at punchcards dot fun with any tips, ideas, or suggestions. Or leave a post on our Boardgamegeek forums!
NOTE: Budding sadists who would like to design their own combat arenas can experiment with our janky map designer web app. Mail your map URLs to Chris if you find any that you're particularly fond of.